View (and Noise) From the Sidelines
My son has played soccer for over 10 years, and some of our not-so-fond memories include the picture taking booth at the soccer field. Of course, as good parents we made our little guy go stand in front of the camera holding his ball proudly on his knee, and then paid the $30-$40 necessary to have the image in an envelope on our shelf for life. At soccer tournaments we didn't have the booth, but professionals hovered around the field snapping action shots so they could sell those to doting parents when their team won the trophy and their budding soccer star scored the game-winner. But now, there is a new kind of hovering, and it is a sign of things to come. Like a weed-eater cutting through 50ft bamboo, the camera-equipped RC quad-rotor appeared in several of our tournaments this year. It was distracting and loud, but effective. The action shots offered were from the Sky-Cam as we saw the professional on the ground snapping thousands of digital photos from his personal version of the Met-Life or Goodyear blimp. This, my friends, is the wave of the future. Be ready -- one day you'll think "what's that buzzing noise" in Wal-mart, and then notice that 3 or 4 of those copters are floating around watching for shoplifters! Just give them a few years to get the engines quieter and the battery life longer, and they won't just be delivering packages -- they will be everywhere.